Rumors regarding a downturn in the perennial chain’s financial health appears to have started with a news report, during the height of the pandemic, when numerous restaurants were temporarily shuttered.
This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: CNN.com, Wikipedia.org, CNBC, ScrapeHero.com, Chilis.com, DallasNews.com, Google.com, and MarketWatch.com,
This article represents the latest in a series that attempts to elucidate the truth behind internet rumors of business closures.
In a March, 2020 article published on CNN.com published during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, entitled “Olive Garden, Chili's and Other Restaurant Chains Are at Risk,” it was reported that financial issues were hitting the listed chains to the point that permanent closures were possible for all.
As excerpted from the article, which stated that though larger chains such as Chili’s were better equipped to handle the unexpected business downturn than smaller entities, they were still in a precarious position: Brinker International, which owns Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy, is at 75% to 80% takeout and delivery, said CEO Wyman Roberts last week, adding that the company has "changed all of our messaging" to let customers know about the shift. At both Darden and Brinker, restaurant managers are helping fill takeout orders.
As with many casual dining restaurants during that period, the owner (Brinker) strategically shifted their model, for a then-indeterminate period, largely to takeout.
And the rumors of Chili’s permanently shuttering seem to have sprung from there.
Let us explore further
Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the Chili’s chain, which was founded in 1975 by Larry Lavine. See here for the Chili’s page, which states: Chili's first location, a converted postal station on Greenville Avenue in the Vickery Meadows area of Dallas, Texas, opened in 1975. The original Chili's on Greenville Avenue moved to a new building on the same site in 1981 before relocating again in 2007. In 1983, Lavine sold the company to restaurant executive Norman E. Brinker, formerly of the Pillsbury restaurant group that owned Bennigan's.
According to ScrapeHero.com: There are 1,225 Chili's locations in the United States as of May 26, 2022. The state with the most number of Chili's locations in the US is Texas, with 217 locations, which is 17% of all Chili's locations in America.
For an up-to-date listing of current locations, see here for the Chilis.com official list.
In response to the CNN article, above, and subsequent followup pieces by other media outlets, DallasNews.com published “On Restaurant Recovery, CEO of Chili’s in North Texas Says ‘We Don’t See a National Problem.”
From the article: Despite spiking coronavirus cases and a battle-weary economy, the CEO of Coppell-based restaurant chain Brinker International isn’t worried the recovery will be stunted again in the near future. “We see the challenges ahead, but we don’t think that they’re going to be significantly different than what we’ve been dealing with, really, through the summer and the fall," Wyman Roberts said Thursday on CNBC.
Indeed, Roberts’s words have proven prophetic. Despite the rumors of Chili’s permanently closing — concerns found via a targeted Google search — the company appears well in the midst of recovery.
A May, 2022 article from Marketwatch.com, “Chili’s Parent Brinker Misses Profit Expectations But Beats on Revenue and Same-Store Sales,” disclosed predominately positive current financial status for the parent company: Net income rose to $36.6 million, or 81 cents a share, from $33.9 million, or 73 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share of 92 cents missed the FactSet consensus of $1.02. Revenue rose 18.3% to $980.4 million, above the FactSet consensus of $978.1 million. Same-store sales rose 13.5%, beating the FactSet consensus of 11.2%, as same-store sales for Chili's rose 10.3% and for Maggiano's grew 50.5%.
Though this is a largely positive report, the lone negatives in the mix were the following: For fiscal 2022, the company expects adjusted EPS of $3.05 to $3.30, below the FactSet consensus of $3.48, and revenue of $3.75 billion to $3.85 billion, surrounding expectations of $3.80 billion.
Still, those numbers were nearly in the range of projections.
Chili’s does not plan to close anytime soon, and we will report any official updates on the matter as they happen.
For now, rumors of the longstanding chain going out of business are false, and its owner continues to work on surpassing current business projections.
Thank you for reading.